It’s that time of year when everyone’s schedules seem to be in a complete whirlwind. Our kids’ school tends to be one of the first to let out for summer, so we’re pulling into full-on summer mode in the midst of friends who are still trudging through finals and throwing graduation parties. So the end-of-year/graduation party circuit has lasted a good three weeks for us.
I’m currently planning the summer lessons, camps and events, but I’m also acutely aware of the fact that there is another generation of mothers going through the bittersweet joys of watching a child graduate from high school. I don’t have a high school graduate this year but my best friend does, so this has been a part of my thoughts and prayers lately.
And I get it… it’s not just about knowing that your child is entering a new stage in life, it’s about knowing that you are exiting a familiar stage of life. It’s the end of a type of nurturing that is only inherent in mothering the growing up (versus the grown up) child. It’s natural.
I thought about the dichotomy between these two creatures (mother and child) this past week and how different each approaches this particular fork in the road. And the prevalent theme of it all is this: God is calling. In Hebrews 11:8, we read about Abraham being called out.
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” (KJV)
The application to our graduates is an easy one. But there’s an application here for the parents of graduates, too. We are called to let go of that one-on-one direct parenting stage at a certain point in their lives. In a culture devoid of rites and rituals that mark a passage to adulthood, high school graduation is the only point of reference we have for when this happens. It can feel awfully abrupt. And it requires us to go to places we’re completely unfamiliar with.
Not knowing where they are the majority of the time… sitting back and watching them struggle rather than stepping in… moving aside from the place we’ve held in their lives so that God might have control…
It takes a Source of strength to do this well. It takes divine courage to encourage them while disagreeing with them at times. It takes grace to realize that someone else will simply have to show them how to do whatever it is that you forgot. It takes faith that God is still working in your child’s life even when you can’t witness it or see the fruit of it.
As Oswald Chambers says so well, “Let the attitude of the life be a continual ‘going out’ in dependence upon God, and your life will have an ineffable charm about it which is a satisfaction in Jesus.”